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Sunday, 05 June 2016 19:05

Beware fake emails, supposedly from Google

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The disgusting, opportunistic, evil and criminal slimes trying to fool us all are back with new emails from Google to trick and trap us. Be careful!

Ok, so everyone reading this article should be extremely well aware of a torrent (ok not that kind of torrent) of spammy emails being mostly (but not always) being captured by spam filters with viruses and/or ransomeware attached.

These can be fake post office "package waiting" notifications, fake speeding tickets, fake government emails, fake FBI emails, fake courier tracking emails, fake electricity bills and plenty more – the bad guys have no end to their criminal ways.

Now comes yet another new tactic, which is obviously a rehashing all of all those previous ways to try and fool us into clicking on a link or opening and running a malware-laden attachment.

It wouldn’t even be the first time Google has been used to deliver plausibility – or at least, just enough to socially engineer us into lowering our guard and clicking something, thus becoming the weakest link the bad guys are trying to manipulate us into being.

So in amongst a stack of other crappy spam, I can see an email boasting of a "Google Partnership", congratulating me that my email address had been accepted.

While Gmail makes it clear once you’ve opened the email with a big bold red banner stating “Be careful with this message. Many people marked similar messages as phishing scams, so this might contain unsafe content. Learn more.”, many people might not be opening such an email from within the Gmail web browser environment.

I can then see a note stating: “Your invitation to GoogleTrader has been Accepted.”

We are then told ‘You can register here’, followed up by the badly written English stating: “Will be held a competition from Sunday 5 June – Wednesday 8 June.”

The message continues: “Some of you are already at 350 Eur (~400 USB) while I am writing this email.

“Check your accounts! Money has already been paid.

“Trick: Use a new email address to register your spot and bypass verifications.”

“Register here.”

“Regards, Google Trader Team”.

Another email from “Google Support” tells me I need to confirm my payment and than I can earn up to $1000 per day.

Then I see more emails supposedly from Google with yet more phishing attacks. One is from "Google Partnership".

Others still purport to be from "GOOGLE" and talk of my "commission" having been sent, or my "weekly pay cheque".

Of course, if you have no such dealings with Google, if you do not use their advertising services to advertise anything or to display Google ads on your site, if you do not sell anything online, if you have no business relationships with Google, you might ignore these types of emails completely. 

But as always, these emails are designed to get your curiosity flowing...  just enuogh to click! And then click again, or run an attachment to open a supposed invoice, pay cheque receipt or something else.

It’s just yet another stark reminder and warning to use your utmost vigilance and caution when dealing with ANYTHING via email.

If in doubt, do not click!

Call or email the person or company (if you're able) via their official websites or contact details — never trust any such details from an email  and if you need to check that way, but never make the mistake of thinking a ransomeware attack will never happen to you or that you're too smart to be fooled by such nefarious emails.  

One wrong click and you can be in the grip of ransomware writers, for which the only working preventive is multiple backups – and very recent ones at that.

Stay safe out there, dear friends and readers  and please make online (cloud), offline and offsite backups now before an almost inevitable accident occurs and you lose your data, whether fake Google emails and ransomware have anything to do with it or not!


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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